Few news stories lately have moved me like the sad story of Alex Spourdalakis.
Short version: Alex is a husky teenager. He is autistic and non-verbal, suffers from intestinal troubles, and is sometimes prone to physical outbursts. His mother, Dorothy, gets sucked into the “autism biomed” whirl, where she becomes convinced that psychiatric care is not good enough for her son. Rather, she subjects him to all manner of quacky treatments, none of which work, in the mistaken belief that vaccines caused his autism. Which they didn’t.
No less an autism quack than Andrew Wakefield himself created an appeal video on Alex’s behalf, pleading for money so he would not be subjected to the inhumanity of the state psychiatric system. Apparently it wasn’t good enough.
Because this June, Dorothy murdered her son. She stabbed Alex in the chest four times, after failing to kill him by overdosing him with medicine. She then overdosed herself and Alex’s other caregiver in a suicide attempt, and killed the family cat as well (to prevent him from being taken to a shelter).
There are many loathsome aspects to this case, but not first among them is the commenters who excuse Dorothy’s behavior. Saying things like “she was at the end of her wits”, and “Without a complete overhaul of our approach to autism treatments, therapies, and services, tragedies like this are inevitable.”
In fact, they are very evitable. Here’s how:
DON’T FUCKING COMMIT MURDER AGAINST THE BOY WHO DEPENDS ON YOU FOR EVERYTHING.
Is that so hard?
What skeeves me possibly most of all is the implication that Alex is better off dead than disabled. You see this a lot on vaccine/autism whack sites. Parents who are justifiably upset and frustrated with their child’s condition, use phrases like “damaged” and “stolen”. I am really sorry that some children have developmental disorders like autism. I don’t begin to understand what it’s like to care for a handicapped child.
But I do know that that little person, is a person. They are not damaged. They are not inferior. They are not broken.
They are your kids, and they’re different, and you need to take care of them.
Would having a non-autistic child be easier? Indubitably. But just because life is hard, does not give you the excuse to commit murder. Making life easier does not justify this wretched crime.
Rest in peace, Alex. I’m sorry you had such a selfish bitch of a mother, who took your life senselessly. You are not better off dead, no matter what the ableists say. You were worthy of life, and I am sorry it was taken from you.
- No, autism doesn’t justify murdering your child (sciencebasedpharmacy.wordpress.com)
- CBS News Should Retract Report Excusing Mother’s Murder of Autistic Child (mediaite.com)